Are you having trouble sleeping? Sleep disorders are distressingly common amongst adults and it’s not hard to see why. We only have so much time to get things done and we sacrifice sleep all too easily. But sleep deprivation makes things worse. Just a day or two can make you irritable, lose focus and make mistakes. In the long term, it can even make you obese or unhappy.
So what can you do to fall asleep when counting sheep doesn’t do the trick? Practice good sleep hygiene with some of the tips below.
1. Get the screens out of the bedroom
All the experts agree on this one – our smart devices do more harm than good at night. Keep your television, tablet, phone and anything with a screen out of the bedroom. Don’t use them for at least 30 minutes (ideally an hour) before you go to bed. Most of us use phones as an alarm clock. Replace it with a cheap alarm clock instead and keep temptation away.
2. Use your bed only to sleep
Don’t get into bed unless you’re feeling sleepy. If you’re still awake after half an hour, get out and go to another room. Drink some tea or read a book to relax. Come back only when you’re sleepy again. The idea is to associate the bed with sleeping and not a place to stress out.
3. Take a warm bath or shower
This is an old trick but works wonders. A warm shower will help your muscles relax and get you ready for sleep. Your body temperature drops when you exit the shower and this conditions your body to power down for the night.
4. Put your socks on
When it comes to sleep, you need to keep your core cool and feet/hands warm. So try wearing your socks to bed. Socks help blood flow and balance your body’s internal temperature. This is an especially good tip if you’re one of those people whose feet freeze up in winter. It can help both you and your partner sleep better!
5. Keep a notepad
What if you can’t sleep because your mind is filled with checklists, tasks and worries about tomorrow? Keep a notepad by your bed and jot down anything that comes to your mind. Your to-do list, general worries, anything at all. Writing things down lets you get it out of your head and go to sleep faster.
6. Set up a sleep routine
A sleep routine doesn’t have to be anything special. Any activity that’s not stressful and doesn’t involve a screen is a good candidate. Some people write in their journal while others read or draw in a sketchbook. Routines help remind your mind and body that it’s time to sleep.
7. Visualize a memorable event or experience
Try visualizing an event or vacation that you really enjoyed. Focus on the little details like the taste of the food or the feel of the water in the pool. It will allow you to think about something pleasant and distract from your worries.
8. Practice breathing and relaxation techniques
Breathing and relaxation techniques are easier to learn than meditation. Inhale through your nose for 2 or 3 seconds, fill your lungs and exhale again through the mouth for 4 to 6 seconds. Other techniques include relaxing your muscles one by one – start from your toes and work upwards.
9. Rearrange your bedroom to help you sleep
Noise and light will affect your sleep. Close the drapes to block out light and set the temperature between 65F to 68F. Even the pillow makes a difference. Ideally, your pillow should be soft but firm enough to support your neck and back. Some people use 2 or more pillows to adjust their posture for better sleep.
10. Workout during the day
Most of us sit at a desk and stare at a screen all day. That’s not very helpful when trying to sleep. Hit the gym or run during the day. You’ll fall asleep quicker when your body is tired out. Physical exercise is your best friend to get a good night’s rest. It’ll keep you healthy and help you live longer too!
Replacing Old Mattresses and Pillows
Over time, mattresses lose their firmness and shape. Pillows lose their suppleness. This can cause gradual changes to your posture as you sleep, making it more and more difficult to find the rest that you need. Because these changes are gradual, it’s difficult to notice them. Make sure that you change your bed accessories as often as necessary to ensure a restful sleep!